As a runner, you know your feet are important: picking the right shoe that matches your physiology and running surface is critical to keep your feet healthy.
But in terms of important body parts, I think we can all agree the comfort of what’s between your legs is infinitely more important than what’s at their ends. Keeping your feet happy is good, but you also gotta make sure you’re putting your eggs in the right basket.
The Cotton Everglades
When you started out, you probably ran in good old tightie whities, boxer briefs—maybe even boxers if you were feeling reckless. And it didn’t take long to realize that cotton is, indeed, your enemy. Instead of wicking sweat, it hangs on to it like Stallone hangs on to the 80’s. No bueno. Cotton retains both heat and moisture, and getting swampy isn’t exactly conducive to comfort during long runs. With all that movement, a severe case of chafing is just around the corner.
A Step Up From Jockeys
So long cotton, hello synthetics. Synthetic materials are designed to manage heat and moisture that arises from exercise. Almost all athletic apparel companies have their own fancy name for their synthetic: Nike has Dri-FIT, Adidas has ClimaCool, Under Armour has HEATGEAR™.
The first synthetics I tried out of the gate were Under Armour Compression Shorts. The “compression” thing keeps the material tight to your skin, which allows the fabric to do what it does. These were ok, but they did wear and pill sorta funny. And they were relatively thick material, which was more cumbersome and retained more heat than I’d like.
I also tried out the Nike Pro Short—a little better than the Under Armour compression short.
These work pretty well, too. But the compression thing… When the material is uniformly “compressing” you, it doesn’t give you the space you need in the places you need it. I felt like a robber that has a stocking over their face.
I thought I could do better.
The Holy Grail
I came across the Under Armour Boxerjock at MetroSport—a great running store in San Francisco. The legs are of the “compression” style, but it has what Under Armour calls “Performance Pouch Technology” to create a place hold your valuables.
Now we’re talking.
After a few trial runs these have become my favorites by a long shot. The fit was good and the material worked well, dissipating heat and wicking moisture. The pouch could’ve been a little more generous, but it’s a vast improvement over the compression short and acts as a nice protector for your private sector.
If anyone has any other good finds, please share! Leave a comment on whatcha got.
Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC at Flickr
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